In the windmills of my mind I can see a much younger HellsKitchenMan circa 1982 getting ready for his BIG move to NYC. He was 22 and it was going to be all exciting and adventurous and delightful. But of course as his luck is there was this weird cancer going on that he hadn't heard of that was 'getting' gay men. Cut to my going away party, my aunt came over and gave me an envelope with five dollars in it for emergencies. My mother's boyfriend gave me a 12 inch of a Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney record. My mother gave me an article, a tiny one she clipped from Time or Newsweek about the new GAY CANCER and asked me to be careful in NYC. I had NO idead what was about to explode in the world. Yeah I'm from the smallest state in the country and all and people there are very family oriented but I really had no idea what that gay cancer thing was all about. But it did frighten me to say the least that you could die from having sex w/someone and it might take YEARS to happen. But being 22 I moved to NYC and forgot the warnings and got a great shake up when I got here. To say I was rocked by NYC is an understatement and to actually be in a city where stores stay open after 8 was mind blowing back then. THAT I could run across to a deli at 12 am and get whatever was totally mind altering and to get pizza by the SLICE? NOT a whole pie delivered by someone w/1 tooth?!!! WOW. Cut to 25 yrs later and I wonder after all the crazy things me and my friends did that none of us got AIDS or became positive. We must have been the luckiest guys in the world as it seems everyone was getting it then. My first boyfriend was the manager of a famous singer. He didn't tell me he was positive whne I was 23. I let him f me bareback but he was too huge too take so we stopped. Later he died after setting up a huge music charity for AIDS which was really hypocritical of him. Even while living in NYC guys were gying left and right and somehow this scourge barely touched my life. I don't know how and that's weird. I was never what you would call a 'pig' but I did like to experience all the craziness that NY had to offer e.g. the movie houses, bathouses, GH's...all the stuff back home I had only heard about. I felt guilty for a long time that all this stuff was happening around me and yet not to me or any of my friends. Yet everywhere I went people that I met either knew of a guy that was dying or had a lover that was dying. I can't image what a tsunami the 80's were for those guys living thru this. I just went on blithely playing around and making friends and working and getting in big w/the A list of NYC nitelife. I was out at every A list party and club and was friends w/all the Michael Aligs etc.... As I got older and again, was almost untouched by this raging disease I started to come into my own and got awaay from all that Grace Jones madness and went to acting class, did stand-up for 3 years and met whole new circle of friends. Actual REAL people not guys in make-up w/luchboxes as purses. Can you imagine/ lol, But those folks even had friends that were dying or recently diagnosed HIV+. I never quite knew what to say to them as I hadn't experienced it and then I became aware of the black blanket that was covering NYC and the world w/this. At that time even people wee freaking out, didn't want to drink from fountains if a HIV person did b4 and all sorts of crazy things. They didn't want to shake hands etc....it was a WEIRD time. Cut to years later and after AZT and other treatments my friend got a b/f w/HIV. After I finally met someone w/the disease it became clear to me that it wasn't a plague...it was a disease and not like the clap or VD where you could just get a shot and badda bing it's over. I got to see what living w/it was really like and what it meant. Well 20 yrs later that guy is stil alive and healthy. Even if he did have a nasty falling out w/that nut Jane Siberry! lol. In the loooooooooooong run....I am glad that somehow I survived and never got HIV and none of my close friends did. I just wonder alot how that whole thing escaped me and as I said (because most of my close friends are also from my home state, now living here) I kiss the ground every day that I'm clear and wish all those guys that died were able to hang on a bit more till treatment came. What a CRAZY time the 80's were. The 80's was delicious for all it's new wave madness and carnal delites but it also slapped you in the face for it. It was fun seeing Madonna at Danceteria running around w/her ecords trying to get the dj's to play them etc...If only having sex wasn't a life sentence back then there would be millions of people still alive. Good people whose only crime was taking it or giving it. OK, OK this is the end of my rant/cornerstone archive moment!